With Bitcoin’s woes, could it be time for Ripple to shine? CrossCoin Ventures plans to announce Wednesday that it is launching the first Ripple digital currency accelerator, which will be based in San Francisco.
With the second largest market cap in cryptocurrencies, Ripple is a currency in its own right, a cheap and decentralized exchange for other currencies, and an open-sourced protocol. For the cost of one low-value “ripple” per transaction to prevent spamming, Ripple converts money in between currencies, including other digital currencies like Bitcoin.
Unlike its bigger brother, Ripple maintains all of its transactions in a shared market ledger that’s verified through a complex consensus mechanism rather than mining, thus speeding up the transaction time. (To understand more on how it works, there’s a good primer you can download here.)
The CrossCoin Ventures accelerator program however isn’t focused on the currency itself, said Adam Marsh, one of the venture team members and co-founder of Clean Power Finance and Coactive Networks. Instead, they’re looking to use the protocol to bring Ripple to the mainstream as a payment system — they want to expand the Ripple ecosystem.
“We’re trying to use the power of cryptocurrency to change the world,” Marsh said. “That could mean a business model on Bitcoin or made on Euros to dollars. They just have to use the Ripple protocol.”
“We’re especially interested in concepts revolving around remittance between the U.S. and developing nations such as free, real-time microtransactions; wallets for businesses and consumers; merchant solutions; and tax, analytics and management products for multiple fiat and digital currencies,” said Gary Kremen, managing partner at CrossCoin ventures and founder of Match.com, in a statement.
The accelerator will give startups office space at Ripple Labs so they can have easy access to its technical resources in addition to the CrossCoin ventures team, which includes Kremen, Marsh, angel investor Steve Bennet and Stanford University professor and entrepreneur Ryan Orr. Applications for Ripple startups are now open.
However, it’s not the first digital currency startup accelerator.
Last May, Boost.vc created the Boost Bitcoin Fund to start companies when they graduate from the accelerator. The accelerator already had its first Bitcoin-related demo day (its second in company history). Also in the Valley, Plug and Play Tech Center also launched a Bitcoin start-up accelerator and will welcome its first class of five Bitcoin startups this March.